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Chapter 20: Learning When to Fast

Daniel 9: 3 (ESV) “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.”

Main Idea

Fasting helps enable a follower of Christ to become closer and more connected with his/her Creator. Fasting also restricts the desires of the body in order to focus our energy on God.

My Story

I recently had to make a hard decision that would impact the lives of several people. God called me to fast from television, social media, and do day fasts from food. This fast aided me to pray more fervently and discover God’s will in a situation. God’s words resonated more clearly in the silence.

Discussion

Though the Bible primarily discusses fasting in terms of food, it also implies fasting in other areas of life. The point of fasting is to give up something in order to use that energy focusing on God and listening to him. Fasting is a crucial part of the process of becoming a stronger follower of Christ. When we fast, we can break through barriers and take down strong holds that have been built up as a hindrance between God and his people. We are called by God to fast, in order for God to say something to us that requires undivided attention.

Challenge

The first step in fasting is to listen to God to know when and from what to fast. When he tells you to fast, do so immediately. Remember, fasting is meant to be challenging, but at the same time peaceful and relaxing. Make sure to spend time with God using the extra opportunities created by the fast. Focus completely on God whenever you feel the deprivations of your fast and listen to His still, small voice.

 

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Chapter 4: Turning Your Temptations into Victorious Prayer

Romans 12:21 ” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

We can “turn back” a personal temptation by using it as a springboard for prayer for ourselves and others.

My Story

In this season, I find myself tempted to anxiety over the safety and well-being (physical, emotional, and spiritual) of my two college daughters. I am often distracted to tears and outright panic. I have already been using these times to pray and recommit my girls to God and to remember His promises from His word. “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19, NASB)  I have a small Facebook group of several moms, who also have college freshmen and their own anxieties for their children. When the anxiety comes, I am now praying not only for my girls and myself, but for my friends as well.

Discussion

What are your temptations? How can you use this temptation as an opportunity to minister to yourself and others?

Challenge

Beware the second temptation! Satan might remove our first temptation because we are using that temptation to pray and turning it around for good. Hopefully, we can then avoid the second temptation to stop praying.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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Chapter 3: Sharing Your True Desires with God

Hebrews 4:16 “Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace to find help in the time of need.” (NET Bible)

Main Idea

God longs to answer our prayers, but sometimes the prayers on our lips are not a true reflection of what is truly in our hearts. We say the right words, but our hearts are far from it!

The author tells the story of a man who cried out to God for deliverance from a bad habit. After much prayer, nothing happened. A wise and loving friend graciously asked him if he truly wanted deliverance. “Maybe,” he said, “you love this bad habit and don’t really want God to deliver you at all.”

This breakthrough began the process of him actually beginning to break his habit with the God’s help.

God already knows what we think. It is important to the process that we understand what is going on in our own hearts and that we are honest with God about the struggle. He is more than willing to come to our aid when we come to Him humbly and honestly.

For God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

My Story

For me, identifying my real problem is often my biggest struggle. Sometimes I fail to see the forest, and only see the trees. But I have found that when I am honest with my struggles, the very place where I wrestle with God becomes holy ground.

Discussion

How are you hurt? What tempts you? What do you find that helps you take these things to God’s throne and ask for mercy and grace? Ask God to help you be honest with your struggle and to give you strength and courage to do what is right.

Don’t forget to journal what God teaches you. We would love to hear from you.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Book Study, Prayer

 

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